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DevSecOps

What is IGA - Identity Governance and Administration?

What is IGA - Identity Governance and Administration?

Your office or business must have a way to authorize people’s access to physical and virtual systems. Passwords or fingerprints must already be part of this access mechanism. 

But do you think that such a setup is secure when standalone?

If your answer is yes, consider situations like department transfers, employee resignations, job role change through promotion, retirements, and transfers to an office in a new location. In such situations, IAM systems have a lot of enabled access permissions - a long list of ‘possible threats’ as they are for the users who must technically out of system. 

Is it still a ‘yes’? We guess, not.

Identity & access management, or as we call it, IAM requires a lot of input from your IT engineers. To automate the process and govern it as per organizational changes in real-time, we have an emerging technology, i.e. IGA. 

Read ahead to learn everything about it, because you will surely want to leverage it - irrespective of how big or small your venture is.

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Learning Objectives

Identity Governance and Administration  Definition

IGA is a policy-focused method to handle IAM operations. Its core aim is to govern and administer the traditional as well as modern IAM systems/tools for extra efficiency. From automating the IT team's part of work to auditing, compliance,  user provisioning/deprovisioning, and security, IGA systems can assist businesses in multiple ways.

If you think that it just a data management tool for your on-premise IAM tools, you are wrong. IGA tools can work well with on-premises as well as in integration with your cloud-based deployments. So, adding them to your IT infrastructure can help you secure all the digital identities within the venture. 

IGA can play a significant role in managing entry/exit to your digital tools, offices, and data. As it is possible to automate user account creation, role updations, offboarding, policy updation, provisioning, on-boarding, and rule-application related to how users enter systems in your network through IGA, this secure-oriented approach is very helpful in risk mitigation and cybersecurity threat prevention. 

Overall, IGA is essential for your security posture, and for reducing the cost of your IT operations.

IGA History

Various industries have different auditing and compliance terms. We have SOX for public companies’ audits and HIPAA for protecting users’ health data. With the increasing number of compliances, IT systems validating business operations against these operations became complex too. 

Now, as you can guess, ‘access’ to data within the office/network requires adherence to industry compliances and business rules too. That’s where the need for regulation-creation and administering identity-based access was felt. 

Identity governance and administration solutions were first acknowledged when Gartner enlisted them as a separate-emerging and the fastest-evolving market in the year 2012. 

At this time, the technology research & analysis company used to release reports related to governance & administration of digital identities separately. Later, in 2013, these reports were merged into one. Magic Quadrant was launched for the same year.

In 2019, the last Magic Quadrant for IGA was launched, and was converted into the market guide, signifying the complete maturing of the industry.

What makes IGA so important for your Organization/Enterprise?

In the era of digitization, your networks surely have more data, more people, and even more devices. The scenario is the same for the on-premise as well as cloud-based implementations. In such a complex world, having an efficient and automated (or semi-automated) way to regulate your user identities becomes important.

So, whether you are an enterprise or a fast-evolving ambition-driven startup, if your IT team is spending a lot of time manually governing the data of the IAM processes and tools, you must consider adding an identity governance and administration as a component into your IT infrastructure.

Having an IGA system or a set of reliable IGA solutions in place will help you monitor, manage, and safeguard user access for all your remote and on-premise systems in one go. With it, your business will be more secure against security threats and unauthorized entry through your compromised endpoints. 

IGA is not only beneficial from data/business security perspective, but from an expenditure point of view too. Right and regular adherence to the access-related rules will ensure that your IAM tools have updated data – without eating up a lot of time for your IT teams. 

Elements of the IGA system

Considering to add an identity governance and administration software, or a set of tools, to your IT setup? Make sure that is has:

  • A Centralized Policy

Having a governing & identity control policy for your whole venture (for its on-premise and on-cloud systems) and customer base lets you operate and scale dynamically.

  • Password Manager Feature

You must enable password strength validation, single sign-on, and 2FA like mechanisms to ensure that all kinds of users have unbreakable passwords in your network.

  • Predefined Workflows

For automation via IGA, it is better to create access-control triggers. For instance, an offboarding should trigger user account deletion, job role change should update access rights, and an onboarding should result in a user account creation. Automating such workflows will save your teams from doing these tasks manually, and will enable real-time access constraint updation.

  • Authorization Capability

From generating access-related certifications to reviewing permission and verifying user access is the responsibility of these tools. For each user role or special users, you must elaborate the rights and permissions carefully in an IGA system.

  • Power of Reporting

You must maintain logs, reports & analytics data, collected in identity governance and administration systems, in order to ensure that everything is according to the compliance. Make sure to perform SWOT analysis on the collected data at a regular time interval. For all this, your tool should be able to do reporting too.

Besides the above, depending upon an organization’s needs and size, IGA systems may also have integrators, deprovision/provision management aids, and entitlement updation processes as their elements.

IGA Vs Identity and Access Management

Unlike the common misconception, identity governance and administration does a lot more than what is covered by IAM systems. You can consider IAM as a core part of IGA. However, extra responsibilities of IGA include access administering/control, automation of access-control operations, compliance implementation, user access audits, and compliance reporting.

Advantages of the IGA

IGA has uncountable benefits for all sorts of businesses and organizations, considering the fact that data is the fuel of this century and IGA helps control the user's access to it. You agree too, right? Of course.

Top 10 of its advantages are as enlisted:

  1. Faster access to resources throughout your network - without security compromises.
  2. Better and real-time access management and request processing
  3. Updated IT systems by modifying the tools as per the latest data regulations
  4. Efficient risk mitigation
  5. Automated Identity Governance policy implementation
  6. Trust among your customer base regarding the security and privacy
  7. Cost-cutting, as labor-intensive works are now handled automatedly
  8. Time-saving for the IT team; they can focus on other essential works now
  9. Greater access control in a dynamic business environment that involves onboarding, offboarding, department shifts, etc.
  10. Full user access tracking and reporting capability.

Conclusion

The IGA solutions market is now matured up and has a wide range of offerings for all kinds of businesses. Implementing them in synchronization with your IAM tools can strengthen your security strategy. Also, it enables you to refine and audit your systems as per industry compliance, building a higher level of trust in your business among your employees and customers. 

As Identity Governance and Administration will also boost your team’s performance, uplift their productivity level, and save their time and energy, there is no reason you should ignore this technology. Not taking your security posture in consideration can have severe results in short as well as long run. Therefore, consider adopting IGA aids as per your IT and security needs.

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